#865 University of California, Berkeley Golden Bearsvs.#866 Stanford University Cardinal
Written by Chuck D
California Golden Bears 18-7 (11-14 ATS) at Stanford Cardinal 12-13 (11-13 ATS)
When and Where: Friday, Feb. 17, Maples Pavilion, Stanford, Calif. 10:00pm EST (FS1)
Spread: California -3.5; Total: 126
California’s five-game winning streak came to a halt on Saturday when they traveled to Tucson and fell to No. 9 Arizona, 52-57. The loss leaves the Golden Bears 3.5 games behind the first-place Wildcats in the Pac-12 race. Stanford, meanwhile, at 4-9 in league play, is 8.5 games out of first. Cal leads the overall series 146-120, including a 66-55 victory at home a couple of weeks ago.
The squad came into this season looking for redemption after falling in the opening round of last year’s NCAA Tournament with an upset loss to Hawaii. The team lost just three times in non-conference play, to San Diego State, Seton Hall, and Virginia. None of their wins were necessarily noteworthy but they have impressed league play with a 9-4 mark. After winning seven of eight and four in a row, California ran into the wrecking ball that is Arizona. As a matter of fact, all of their conference losses have come to the three teams ahead of them in the Pac-12 standings. The Bears have fallen to Arizona (twice), UCLA, and Oregon. They have beaten the teams they should and roll into this contest winners of five of their last six.
With an RPI ranking of No. 32, the Bears are looking good as far as their chances of Dancing next month. In the loss to the Wildcats, Bears star Ivan Rabb was held to just four points and three rebounds. Last time against Stanford, the junior had a double-double wiht 25 points and 13 rebounds. The 6-11 sophomore was a Preseason All-American and is projected to go high in the NBA draft. He often faces double teams but is still averaging 14.7 ppg.
Stanford started the season off well enough, with four straight wins, before falling to Miami by 14. As a matter of fact, all of their non-conference losses were kind of ugly. They fell to St. Mary’s 66-51, to Kansas 89-74, and Southern Methodist 72-49. Their best win out of the league came against Seton Hall, 66-52, but PAC-12 play began with four straight losses. They enter Friday night’s contest having lost five of their last six, including a six-point setback at Arizona State in their last outing.
Prior to the loss to the Sun Devils, the team played well in a seven-point loss to Arizona. Against ASU, they on the battle of the boards 49-27 and Reid Travis scored 17 points while pulling down 11 rebounds. Michael Humphrey pitched in 16 points with 13 boards. Senior guard Marcus Allen is shooting 52.1 percent over his last eight games while averaging 12.5 points.
This is a bitter rivalry and you know the old saying about throwing the records out. The reality is, however, you really should not throw the records out. You look at the body of work for a reason, and that tells us that Cal is better team. They won the first matchup by double-digits and have only lost to the cream of the conference, which Stanford is not. The favorite is 4-1 against the spread in the last five meetings between the two sides and that trend should continue on Friday night.
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Chuck Dowling is a 30-something University of Florida J-School alum that lives in his mother’s basement. Just kidding... there are no basements in Florida (the ground is too moist). He has been in the “biz” for his entire adult life and specializes in NCAA football and basketball, as well as soccer, boxing, and MMA. When not writing, Chuck moonlights as a high school athletics radio and internet-television broadcaster.